Ted Cheeseman says he is ready to announce himself on the big stage when he takes on Spain’s undefeated European Super-Welterweight Champion Sergio Garcia at The O2 in London on Saturday, live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the US.
The Bermondsey star, 15-0, inflicted a punishing defeat on Reading bad boy Asinia Byfield to claim the vacant British title last time out. A defence of the Lonsdale belt didn’t interest ‘The Big Cheese’, who has instead opted to continue his push towards World glory.
“To be honest, sometimes you sit there and think ‘cor, I could do with an easy one now’, but as a fighter you love being involved in testing fights,” said Cheeseman. “You want to get everyone talking about you and to be known as someone that is tough and will fight anyone. I think I’m starting to get a reputation as someone that won’t turn down a challenge.
“I’m one of those fighters who will always look at what opportunities there are out there for me. After the Byfield win, Charlie Sims asked me if I’d looked at any opponents to defend my British title against. There isn’t anyone else at British level other than Fowler or Fitzgerald that I’d be interested in defending it against. I’d rather not just have an easy defence and try to win the belt outright. I’d rather push on and aim at what I turned pro to do, and that’s to become a World Champion.
A step-up to European level has been difficult for fellow Brits such as Lewis Ritson, who suffered his first career loss to Francesco Patera at the Metro Radio Arena in October, but Cheeseman believes his ring experience will help him earn another impressive victory in London.
“On paper, Garcia looks exceptional,” admitted Cheeseman. “He’s 28-0, 13 knockouts. A lot of people are saying to me ‘Do you really need this fight yet? Is it a step too far?’. But I’ve got a good manager, a good coach. I’m coming on in the gym all the time. These are the fights I need. I’m pushing on and hoping to go all the way.
“I’m feeling much more experienced now with my timing in the ring, my ring craft, and I can’t wait to get in there and show everyone how good I am. I’ve had test after test and I’m 100% confident of getting the win. It’s not like I’ve just had one test and now I’m stepping up. I’ve done it for the last two years. I’m firing on all cylinders in the gym, feeling really good.
“Since my seventh fight, I boxed Lloyd Ellett who was 20-1, I boxed Jack Sellars who was 5-0, I boxed Matt Ryan who was 14-1. These are all tough British opponents. Then I fought Carson Jones, Paul Upton and Asinia Byfield. I’ve been building steadily and I’m ready for another challenge this weekend.”
Jake Ball has promised to knockout Craig Richards when they clash for the vacant WBA Continental Light-Heavyweight title this Saturday at The O2 in London, live on Sky Sports in the UK and DAZN in the US.
The bitter rivals were scheduled to meet on the John Ryder vs. Andrey Sirotkin undercard at the Copper Box Arena in October, but a hand injury forced Ball to withdraw from the contest just days out, leaving Richards frustrated at his “embarrassing” opponent.
Ball fought once during an injury-plagued 2018, halting Philip Kotey in September, but with his hand fully recovered, ‘The Blade’ is looking to make a statement in his first fight under new trainer Dominic Ingle.
“It’s my first full camp with Dom and everything has gone really well,” said Ball. “I’ve improved all areas of my game since I moved to the Ingle Gym; speed, fitness and strength. There’s World class sparring for me with the likes of Billy Joe Saunders. To move onto that next level, you need to surround yourself with like-minded people and everyone in the gym is striving to be the best.
“I’m learning new things every day and we all push each other to our limits. It’s brilliant to be involved in such a thriving gym and I’m already feeling the benefits. I’m looking forward to getting in there and being involved in Championship fights again. It’s time to show everyone what I’ve been working on with Dom, Craig better be ready.”
The pair traded insults at a heated press conference earlier this month, where Richards labelled “No Balls” a “time-waster” and questioned whether the Surrey man genuinely wanted to share the ring with him in October. Ball insists he is unfazed by Richard’s accusations and is predicting an early night for ‘Spider’.
“He’s dwelling on the past,” said Ball. “He keeps on sounding off about dates in October and December but if I was him I’d only have this Saturday on my mind. He still fought and got paid in October. I was the one that missed out on a pay check through injury. I don’t know why he’s frustrated – I should be the one that’s frustrated.
“He was very mouthy at the press conference, but I saw right through it. I could see fear in his eyes when we faced off. He doesn’t want this, he knows that I’m a level above him. The only opponents he’s fought at Light-Heavyweight, apart from Frank Buglioni, are 5′ 9″ journeymen.
“On Saturday he’ll be in against a massive 6’ 4” Light-Heavyweight. I’m a bigger puncher, better boxer and beat him in every department. He’s not going to know what’s hit him come Saturday. Actions speak a lot louder than any words I can say. Craig Richards is getting knocked out.
“I respect Craig and I know he’s a good fighter, but he isn’t as good as me and it’s as simple as that. I’m not going to talk him down though. I’m fighting Craig because he’s a decent level and I don’t want any easy knock overs. Like I say, he’s a good fighter, just not good enough.”
Fabio Wardley says he is raring to be let off the leash and begin his attack on the domestic Heavyweight scene after a frustrating couple of years in which he only fought five times.
The undefeated Ipswich talent looks to move to 6-0 when he takes on Frenchman Morgan Dessaux over six rounds on the undercard of Ted Cheeseman’s challenge for the European Super-Welterweight crown against Sergio Garcia at The O2 in London this Saturday.
Wardley, 24, is determined to climb the Heavyweight ladder after signing a management deal with World title contender Dillian Whyte, who also mentors Cruiserweight prospect Richard Riakporhe, and says ‘The Body Snatcher’ is the man to kick-start his career.
“When I signed with Dillian and the team I said that I wanted to be as active as possible and they’re sticking to their word and getting me out regularly,” said Wardley. “Right now, I’m at the building stage of my career my main focus is on learning and developing. I was straight back in the gym after Christmas preparing for my next date. Being involved in a huge event like Whyte vs. Chisora 2 at The O2 gave me a massive buzz, there was no stopping me getting back in the gym.
“Dillian said that I did what I needed to do to get my opponent out of there. He was a good, durable opponent and gave me some rounds which is definitely what I needed after three first round stoppages. I wasn’t tested or pushed at all, but the tougher fights will come as I progress. Dillian was happy with my performance and eager to get me out there again. I’m ready to do it all over again on Saturday.
“I truly believe that I’m in safe hands with Dillian guiding my career. He’s someone that I have immense respect for and I trust his opinion completely. He’s been there and done it, been through the thick of it, and for him to be managing my career is a big advantage for me. The advice that he passes on is invaluable and the sparring isn’t bad either!”
Britain’s Heavyweight scene is thriving, with unified Champion Anthony Joshua OBE leading the way, and Wardley – who’s sparred with the likes of Tyson Fury and undisputed Cruiserweight king Oleksandr Usyk – believes 2019 is the year to announce himself on the big stage.
“I’m definitely looking at titles in the next few months,” added Wardley. “I think I’ll be ready to start throwing my hat into the mix in around six months if I can keep going at the pace I’m moving at – fighting every six to eight weeks. The Southern Area and English belts are the realistic options for me. I don’t see any problems with going for them if I keep on pushing forward. I’d go for them now, but that’s just me. I’m ready to be let off the leash but I trust my team to make the right decisions.
“I pay attention to what’s going on in the Heavyweight landscape but at the same time I’m focused on my own career. It’s an exciting time to be coming through in the Heavyweight division, there’s lots of options out there for me. I feel like I bring something different that other Heavyweights don’t have. I’ve got another golden opportunity to impress again on Saturday and it’s on me to deliver.”